The 19th Century
A dynamic group of scholars in the Department work on literature and culture of the long 19th century, including Dr Janet Floyd, Dr James Grande, Dr Ian Henderson, Cora Kaplan (2011-12), Professor Javed Majeed, Professor Josephine McDonagh, Professor Clare Pettitt, Professor John Stokes, Dr Mark Turner, Dr Neil Vickers, and Dr James Whitehead. We look back to the 18th century, and forward to the 20th and 21st centuries, and collaborate with colleagues across periods.
We have particular strengths in the novel and prose fiction, poetry, theatre history, in media history, especially newspaper and magazine publishing, writing and materiality, literature and medicine, the literatures of travel, exploration and discovery, Anglo-American and Anglo-Australian literature.
From Wordsworth to Oscar Wilde, George Eliot to George Egerton, Trollope to Twain, David Livingstone to Amy Levy, De Quincey, Dickens and Dallas, from 19th century dictionaries and thesauruses to scrapbooks, letters and journalism, our work ranges over the spectrum of 19th century writers, genres and styles.
We are interested in gender and sexuality, the body, space and time, theatricality and the everyday, medical humanities, transatlanticism, the empire and the globe, the past and the future. And our combined expertise covers many interdisciplinary areas as well, including science and medicine, law, political economy, visual culture and the history of technology.
Current research projects in this area include the first complete scholarly edition of Oscar Wilde’s journalism (Turner and Stokes), and recent and ongoing monograph projects include works on literature and distance (Pettitt), literature and migration (McDonagh), mining in the American west (Floyd), and ‘Planetary Victorians’ (Henderson). The group enjoys strong international research links with scholars in France, India, USA, and Australia, enhanced especially through the Leverhulme-funded international research network, 'Commodities and Culture in the Colonial World'.
Professor Clare Pettitt was Research Director of the Leverhulme- Research Project 'Past vs Present: Abandoning the Past in an Age of Progress 2005-2011' and is now developing ‘Scrambled Messages: The Telegraphic Imaginary 1857-1900’, a joint project on the aesthetics of the Atlantic Telegraph developed with Professor Caroline Arscott at the Courtauld Institute for the History of Art and Dr Mark Miodownik, a materials scientist. Dr Mark Turner is a founding editor of the journal Media History.
The group collaborates with external organisations, including the Museum of London, with whom we hold a collaborative doctoral award, and we have recently held a workshop with curators at the V&A. The informal interdisciplinary research group, ‘The Shows of London’, regularly brings together academics and research students from the departments of English and Music at King’s, and the Courtauld Institute, and hosts short symposia.
Members of the 19th century group have also established the 'Malthus Reading Group', a very successful interdisciplinary seminar that meets on a regular basis to discuss Malthus and his continuing impact across many fields.
Members of the group also work in collaboration with other London colleges and institutions to organise intellectual and research-led events beyond King’s. Recently, these have included an ongoing series of day conferences in association with the George Eliot Fellowship and the Institute of English Studies; a season of seminars on ‘Curiosity’ and a roundtable discussion on ‘Conversation from the Eighteenth to the Nineteenth Century’ for the Saturday London 19th Century seminar series at Senate House; a Global Cities Day at the Institute of English Studies; and a topical conference on The News of the World 1843-2011.